28 Oct


This year’s demand for construction appears bright. According to a survey conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) at the beginning of 2018, construction firms expect the demand for all types of construction services to grow.

That expectation for growth is accompanied by the fact that the majority of firms surveyed, an overwhelming 75%, plan to increase their headcount this year, whereas only 3% expect to reduce the size of their firms.

While the construction firms seem to have a positive outlook for the future, there is a slight snag in the optimism; 82% expect it to be difficult to find and hire construction employees, as most of the respondents reported that they are currently having a difficult time recruiting qualified candidates.

This dilemma is nothing new to the construction industry. The labor shortage has been a major topic of conversation in recent times, but it is something that firms will need to address and find solutions for quickly if they want to reap the benefits of the expected growth.

When trying to find a strategy for any problem, it helps to first identify the underlying cause(s).


While there are a variety of factors to consider, there are a few major reasons why it’s been difficult to recruit and hire qualified construction workers, which are highlighted below:

  • Many construction employees were laid off during the last recession and didn’t return to the industry.
  • Baby boomers who returned, stayed, or entered the industry and are currently filling senior level roles are heading toward retirement, leaving a significant skills gap between older and younger workers.
  • The amount of trade schools and apprenticeships have declined, as college educations have been prioritized. As a result, few younger workers are entering the industry. In fact, in a 2017 national poll surveying 18-25 year olds, 74% knew what career field they’d like to enter, but only 3% were leaning toward construction.


While the construction industry clearly has some problem-solving to do in regards to the labor shortage, finding qualified candidates is far from impossible. Every industry has its obstacles. The trick is to develop strategies and move toward solutions instead of dwelling on the issue.

If you’ve personally been having a hard time filling important positions, don’t worry. There are ways to recruit top talent in the tight candidate market as well as attract the younger generation to the industry. Here are a few suggestions to get you on route to success:


One of the major mistakes hiring parties make when advertising open positions is publishing vague job descriptions. Those who are trying to find construction jobs want to apply to openings that they are certain they are an accurate fit for, and if they are unsure about what you’re looking for, they may focus their attention on firms with clearer specifications.

On the other end, if you don’t clearly narrow down what it is you’re looking for, you’re likely to get a slew of enquiries from job seekers who don’t fit the bill. Having to sort through a stack of resumes from people who don’t meet the position’s requirements wastes valuable time that you could be using to focus on recruiting someone who is actually qualified.

Here are a few items to make sure to include:

  • Specific title of the role. Include whether it’s temporary or permanent.
  • All required skills, education, certifications, experience levels, software fluency, etc. Be sure to somehow make note of all absolutely necessary requirements, such as with an asterisk or bold font. This will let candidates know they should only apply if they they can meet those, saving both parties time.
  • Salary, benefits, and perks. Competitive pay and adequate benefits will always be an important factor for job seekers.
  • Information about your company culture. Aside from qualifications, job seekers want to know if your firm harmonizes with their values.
  • Daily tasks. What do the day-to-day operations of the position entail?
  • Instructions on where to send resume. What format should applicants send their resume in? Who do they reach out to?


In 2018, most websites that haven’t taken the necessary steps to improve their rankings in search engines aren’t being found. If you would like job seekers who are searching for terms like “construction jobs,” or “construction firms that are hiring,” it’s important that your website shows up in search results for those keywords.

When your website is found, it’s important that it’s easy and intuitive to use, as users, especially those of the younger demographic, will quickly exit a convoluted, outdated website.

In a tight candidate market, job seekers evaluate potential job leads similar to how employers screen candidates, and since your website is almost always one of the first impressions of your brand potential candidates will investigate, it’s important that it’s attractive, responsive, informative, and engaging.


When you’re trying to snag a qualified job seeker in an industry that’s dealing with a labor shortage, it’s important to act quickly when a solid candidate comes along. Of course, never skip the background and reference checks, but don’t wait so long that another firm swoops in and makes an offer first, hiring the person that could have made an important addition to your team.

In a study conducted in 2016, 60% of job seekers stated that the waiting period after an interview causes them the most frustration in regards to job searching. Even more noteworthy is the fact that 23% of respondents stated that they lose interest in the employment opportunity after one week of waiting, and that number doubled after two weeks.

What this means is that you could be losing potential candidates if you’re slow or unorganized in making hiring decisions. It’s absolutely necessary to be thorough when onboarding a new employee, but when labor is in short supply, being swift and efficient will help you with your goals of building a strong team.


Embracing technology can help construction companies appeal to job seekers in a few different ways.

Most important, new digital advancements help companies improve on-site safety. In a study surveying 330 contractors, 82% of wearable smart device users reported improved positive impacts on safety. The numbers were also positive for those who used drones, laser scanning, and building information modeling. By integrating new technological breakthroughs into your business model, you’ll stand out as a firm who is on the cutting edge of worker safety.

You’ll also appeal to the younger demographic. According to a survey called The Future Workforce Study, more than 80% of millennials surveyed said workplace technology would be an influence when deciding whether to take a job or not. As the future is in these young workers’ hands, you’ll attract more of them if you start modernizing your business practices.

Aside from catering to and attracting millennials, modern day project management software helps turn manual, fragmented tasks into organized, automated processes. Convenience is attractive to anyone at any age, so you’ll most likely appeal to more workers all around if you show that your firm is progressive and on track with the modern times.


The skills gap between seasoned and younger workers is significant. You need to hire millennials in order to keep the construction industry alive, but as it stands now, there aren’t many millennials who are in the industry at all, let alone who have the skills to take on executive roles.

You can combat this by helping younger workers acquire those skills. It’s an investment that will benefit the future of the industry. Consider offering paid internships or apprenticeship programs, and ask if your seasoned workers would be willing to mentor entry-level employees. You can create interest from a younger age by speaking to high schools and colleges about the industry.

By making these skills accessible, you can help generate more qualified workers to an industry that badly needs them. Additionally, when you’re responsible for giving them these tools, they are more likely to be loyal and stick with your firm.


Hiring is a lengthy process. The time it takes to post jobs, review resumes, organize interviews, evaluate candidates, make offers, and onboard new employees is significant. Many hires don’t work out simply because the hiring party was responsible for and distracted by other tasks while simultaneously trying to fill positions.

If you don’t have the time or the hiring know-how to fill important roles, construction search firms can help. Hiring professionals who focus on the construction industry know how to look for qualified job seekers who can best serve the specific needs of the field, and they often already have a pool of qualified candidates on hand. This makes the hiring process fast and easy.

This way, you’ll be able to focus on developing your business to best attract the workers of the future, and construction recruiters can help you overcome any obstacles the current labor shortage poses today.

S.R. Clarke Consulting Services, Inc. has been helping businesses with their hiring needs for over 41 years, and with over 30,000 successful placements behind us, we are confident we can be your strategic partner in success. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help grow your business and build your team.

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